[website-critique] Additional Mistakes Made When Optimizing Web Pages

  • From: "DesignWorks" <tchapman@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <websitecritique@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>,<takeatip-leaveatip@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 00:54:21 -0600

Additional Mistakes Made When Optimizing Web Pages
by Robin Nobles

* A common mistake is not using text links in addition to graphic buttons,
image maps and Flash menus, therefore preventing spiders from crawling the
- Bill Gentry with The Selling Source (sellingsource.com)

* Don't submit before you establish some external links. Some engines, such
as HotBot, are known to drop pages after a couple weeks if they find no
other domains linking to them. Google has also stated that it will not index
a site that does not have at least one external link pointing to it.

Sometimes a link from a major directory such as Open Directory, LookSmart,
or Yahoo! will suffice. However, you should also try to trade links with
other Web sites that are complimentary to yours, then submit the URLs of
those pages that are linking to you. If you can submit the page of one of
these external links and let the search engine spider find your site on its
own, you'll stand to rank much higher than if you'd submitted your site
directly. The drawback is that it may take a bit longer for the spider to
get around to indexing you.

If you're in a big hurry, buy a second domain and put some unique content on
it and cross-link your two sites. To give the impression of independence,
it's best if you host the two domains at separate hosting services. You
might also vary the spelling of the information you submit when you purchase
the domains or use a valid PO box on one and your street address for the
other. This can further the illusion to an automated spider that the two
sites have different owners.

- Brent Winters with First Place Software

META and Other Tags
* Do not use the same tags and text on every page. Do not use excessively
long tags even if the limits "by the book" say you can. (i.e., do not stuff
keywords into the ALT tags of 1-by-1 pixel images and expect a robot to
consider them. Common sense should prevail.)
- Bruce Clay with BruceClay.com (bruceclay.com)

* Probably the biggest single error that people make when they are first
learning the fine art of SEO is the emphasis they might place on the
importance of the keyword META tag. Just because there is room to put 150 or
more keywords into this META tag does not mean that it is really the wisest
thing to do. Of the three most popular META tags, the keyword tag is
probably the least influential. I have created many top scoring pages with
very limited use of the keyword tag. It's best to think in terms of themes
when building keywords, and I would not recommend repeating any word. Keep
your most important words up front, and some of the best results are
achieved with no punctuation or commas as opposed to the old approach of
separating every word with a comma.
- John Alexander with Beyond-SEO.com (beyond-seo.com)

* META tags won't solve all your problems.
In the press, you've probably seen one of many tutorials on how to create
the perfect META tags so the search engines can find you. What they don't
tell you is that the majority of the major search engines don't even read
META tags anymore. The ones that do read them tend to give them little
importance when deciding how your page will rank.

Some of the "experts" will tell you to simply include your keywords in your
title and META tags and to create a Web site with quality content. The
search engines will then naturally flock to you and rank your site near the
top. Certainly title tags and content quality are important, but don't make
the mistake that this is all you need to do to be found on the Web today.
- Brent Winters with First Place Software

* One of the biggest errors I ever made was thinking that the title tag is
just a place for putting keywords. I was just a beginner, learning the craft
back then, but even today there are so many SEOs trying to get all the
mileage they can out of injecting the title tag with keyword combinations.
One day I discovered another advantage of title tag development, which
rendered something much more powerful. Go ahead, optimize for a search
phrase right up front, but then use the remainder of your title to deliver a
message. Use your title to mention your site benefits, make an attention
grabbing statement, offer a solution, ask a compelling question or do
anything to set yourself apart from those other pages. Whatever you do,
don't merely settle for a cluster of keywords stuffed together. Use your
title wisely to best SEO advantage and begin to grab people's attention.
- John Alexander with Beyond-SEO.com (beyond-seo.com)

Myths and Hype
* Don't allow yourself to be hypnotized by the search engine optimization
experts' (both real and self proclaimed) knack of wagging their index
fingers and threatening you with ranking penalizations or total index bans
if you don't adhere to their particular brand of positioning techniques.
Bear in mind that bans are pretty rare and even if they do occur, more often
than not, they will relate to one search engine only - they will never
happen right across the board. Instead, chose a flexible approach and be
prepared to work not just a single domain but preferably scores of them.
This will spread the risk, boost your coverage, allow for bolder
experiments, and will to some extent cover your back should something go
- Ralph Tegtmeier, a.k.a. Fantomaster (fantomaster.com)

Online Marketing
* The biggest mistake I see people making is assuming that the search
engines will produce traffic if they hit all the right buttons. I've known
sites with 1500 pages of quality content that only produce a few hundred
referrals a day from search engines. Search engine optimization is only one
aspect of a well-rounded promotion campaign. That campaign should slowly
broaden into more traditional avenues. Search engines aren't the formula for
long term site success - it's up to your site to produce repeat visitors.
- Brett Tabke with Webmaster World (webmasterworld.com)

* Don't fail to develop an overall strategy of how to market your site.
Don't look at it engine by engine but as a complete plan to make your site
better known. Look especially at the order in which you submit your site to
the engines.
- Gary Woods with Santa Barbara Properties

* Don't buy into the myth that SE optimization no longer works.

There's no question search engine optimization has become more challenging
over the years. Many critics have taken this and declared that search engine
marketing is no longer effective. However, research from third parties like
the recent NPD Group study refute this idea. The NPD Group study
demonstrated that search engine listings result in six times more sales on
average than an equivalent number of visitors from banners ads
(overture.com). That means visitor to visitor, you'll make six times more
money on search engine listings than banners.

So don't fall victim to the biggest mistake: the assumption that search
engine marketing doesn't work anymore or it's a battle you simply can't win.
The key is to arm yourself with the right knowledge combined with the right
tools so you will win.
- Brent Winters with First Place Software

* Don't try to make one page work for all search engines. Engine specific
pages are generally much more effective.
- Rocky Rawstern

* Focusing on page optimization only is a big mistake. Research shows that
there is more to good ranking than an optimized page - there's quantity and
quality of inbound links, age and stability of the Web site, simplicity of
the code (HTML 2.0), and more.
- David Johnson and Annam Manthiram with Position Research

* Do not get rankings and then "leave them alone." Rankings erode if not
maintained. Competition always wants your spot, and they are ruthless.
Search engines change without notice. What is yours today is easily lost if
you are not paying attention.
- Bruce Clay with BruceClay.com (bruceclay.com)

* Don't be inhibited: search engine optimization is possible and it's
actually being done by thousands of people every day. So there's really no
reason why you shouldn't be able to pull it off, too. However, don't be
surprised if you meet five search engine optimization experts only to be
confronted with six mutually exclusive opinions! So, do your homework -
there's no easy push button way out, just like there's no free lunch
- Ralph Tegtmeier, a.k.a. Fantomaster (fantomaster.com)

* Don't wait until the end of the Web development process to bring in an SEO

How many times have we seen this? A prospective client calls you on the
telephone. They've spent thousands of dollars on their Web site and are
ready to launch. And now that everything is "finished," they want to make
sure the Web site ranks in the top ten.

Wups!! This is simply backward. The SEO consultant should have been brought
in at the beginning of the project. That is not to say that the consultant
can't still work "magic" on the site. But backward engineering is never the
best option, and it is usually more expensive.
- J.K. Bowman with Spider Food (spider-food.net)

About the Author:
Robin Nobles is Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists.
Robin has taught well over a thousand students in her online and onsite
search engine positioning courses during the past several years. Her latest
book, Web Site Analysis and Reporting, as well as her past book, Streetwise
Maximize Web Site Traffic, can be ordered through Amazon. Visit the
Academy's site to learn more about their search engine ranking courses and
products. academywebspecialists.com

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